Sunday, October 7, 2012
How you feeling? Giants-Browns
By Dan Graziano
As the New York Giants prepare to host the Cleveland Browns at 1 pm ET on Sunday, here's one reason for Giants fans to be feeling good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: For all of the unsubstantiated belief among Giants fans that their team "plays down" to lower-quality opponents, the Giants have in fact won six straight games against AFC teams and four of their past five against the Browns. Giants coach Tom Coughlin spent much of this week preaching the importance of viewing the 0-4 Browns as dangerous in spite of their record, but it's unlikely to matter much unless the Giants play a complete stinker. Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden has a Total QBR of 10.1 this season. That's on a scale of 0-100, and it's three times lower than any other qualified quarterback in the league. The Giants should be able to devote plenty of attention to the better Browns rookie, running back Trent Richardson, without too much fear of Weeden beating them in the passing game.
Cause for concern: You could make the case that the Giants who will take the field this afternoon are not themselves. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, safety Kenny Phillips and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard are among the key starters who will miss this game due to injuries, and there are several others who are either questionable or not 100 percent. If the 0-4 Browns were, in reality, dangerous, they might be able to exploit some of the Giants' defensive weaknesses. Bernard and Phillips in particular are very important to the Giants' run defense, and it remains to be seen how their replacements will fare. Cleveland's not likely to go 0-16, and any win will likely come against a superior team on paper. So Coughlin is wise to make sure his players know it could happen to them.